The other real world

Eight years ago, although it seems just like yesterday, I was in residence at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.  Two weeks of unbroken time to write.  It was wonderful.  Ha! It was brutal and miserable, to be honest.  I was trying to write about the death of my beautiful horse, Buddy, working day after day in my studio, putting words on the page about all of that was difficult, to say the least.  I was also teaching an online class, cramming in several hours early each morning for about 30 students, they too writing things and having their own hard times.  And, if that all that weren’t enough, I had the worst cold I’d had in years.

The real world
The sign you see as you leave VCCA.  Says it all

But.  There were delightful and brilliant people at VCCA, two horses outside my studio window, and amazing food day after day.  One of the nicest, wisest, writers at VCCA was Randon Billings Noble.  She and I had many conversations about writing, writers we admired (and did not), the writing life, the various things we were writing about.  I really liked Randon, and we have stayed in touch over the years as writers do, seeing each other off and on at AWP, which really should be called AWR, Annual Writers Reunion.

Randon has just written a wonderful blurb for my book, and here it is:

A horse can be broken, as can a heart, but Jean Harper’s luminous Still Life with Horses shows us that heartbreak leads to something infinitely larger – a truer self and a greater love.  Still Life with Horses is a beautiful book, gorgeous and gutting by turns.  At times harrowing, but yielding a rich harvest, it haunts us with stories of possibility and desire, loss and transformation, love and transcendence.  Read this book and be broken in the best ways, be moved, be changed.
Thank you Randon!  And now, go check out Randon’s work, on her website:
Also watch for her forthcoming books too:
 Devotional  (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2017);
Be with Me Always (University of Nebraska Press, 2019).

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